Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to be creative with your quotes. Or, the ethics of recycling., 5 Feb 2014
This review is from: Imagine: How Creativity Works (Hardcover)
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I began this book, as I do most non-fiction works, in good faith. I enjoyed the breezy style. I enjoyed Lehrer's way with anecdotes. I enjoyed his (admittedly broad-brush) portraits of some of the personalities and characters he focused on. I enjoyed the fact that the sciencey stuff didn't go beyond my limited cognition capabilities. My major criticism was that the conclusions reached were a bit nebulous. They weren't particularly groundbreaking or, even, overly helpful for somebody trying to tap into their creativity. (Although, I admit, the conclusion that uncritical brainstorming - especially in the corporate world - is a big waste of everybody's time sounds like good advice to follow.)

And then I found out through Wikipedia and a discussion on a New York-based podcast that Lehrer has been massively vilified for made-up quotes (especially in the Bob Dylan chapter) and unacknowledged recycling of some of his own, previous writings. And I paused to wonder whether any of that made much difference to my (middling) appreciation of this book.

I concluded that, actually, even though Lehrer was a bit idiotic for making up quotes from such a well-observed and intimately studied figure as Bob Dylan, his 'crimes' against literature/journalism were of a smaller magnitude than those committed by many journalists and writers the world over. And maybe he should have mentioned the fact that some of what he wrote was rehashed. But self-plagiarism is, again, a lesser evil than plagiarizing others. (Which, he spends some time emphasizing, had a great deal to do with Shakespeare's genius!) So, no, the revelations about his writing integrity didn't negate my enjoyment of his book. Or negate all of the research and insights within its pages. I just found the research and insights a tad forgettable in the first place!
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3.2 out of 5 stars (92 customer reviews)
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